JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's first-ever bear hunt is drawing plenty of interest.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday that 6,335 people applied for one of the 400 permits the Missouri Department of Conservation will issue for a harvest of 40 bears. Revenue from those applications amounted to more than $63,000.
Winners of a random drawing of eligible applicants will be determined by July 1, conservation spokesman Joe Jerek said. The black bear hunting will be allowed Oct. 18-27. It was approved earlier this year by the Missouri Conservation Commission.
The southern portion of the state will be divided into three "bear management zones." Each will have set number of permits and harvest quotas.
The bear population in Missouri has been growing. Officials now estimate there are 600 to 1,000 black bears in the state.
Still, the bear hunt plan drew a flood of criticism after it was announced.